Police urge people to use ‘extra caution’ when online dating

A stock photo of a man looking at a computer screen. Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

TORONTO – So you’ve met someone on a dating website or app. They’re cute, you’re single and you want to meet them.

Before you do, police want you to exercise a little more caution.

“There’s some dating sites that don’t actually validate who you are, so you can set up a completely fake profile and it’s those ones that [the Sex Crimes unit] wants people to be aware of,” Victor Kwong, a spokesperson for Toronto Police said.

Police issued a public safety alert Monday reminding people to exercise extra caution while engaging in online relationships.  Kwong said the alert was not spurred on by any particular incident.

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Police warned that most websites don’t require people to confirm their identity and give people an opportunity to act anonymously. Kwong suggested using websites which force people to confirm who they are before talking to someone.

Police say the anonymity can “increase the risk to those who take relationships from online to real-life.”

Kwong offered two safety tips if you do choose to meet someone; meet in a public place, or meet the person with a group of friends.

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